One of my favorite stories from my early courtship with Ike (my fiancé) begins with my initial belief that he was a TOTAL sketchball.
My perception of him largely originated from the way we met–he was being auctioned off at a charity date auction. And no, I did NOT bid on him. I was there to support a friend–totally innocent on my part. In his defense, Ike claims it was “all for a good cause” but I wasn’t so sure.
As a result of my initial impression, Ike spent the following 2 months convincing me otherwise. Week after week he took me on dates, but not once did he ever make a move. He never tried to kiss me, put his arm around me, hold my hand, or really even touch me. At first it was nice, but after awhile I started to wonder if he was even attracted to me…or girls, for that matter. No guy had ever been so stand-offish before. Maybe he just liked taking girls out to dinner and paying for them?
Eventually he came clean and said that he wanted to make our relationship official. But even then I wasn’t sure about him. I needed more time. And time he gave me. We continued to go out and he continued to be a gentleman as he waited on me.
Now here’s where the story gets good: One night I was talking to him about how I STILL wasn’t ready to make things official, and I was very apologetic about it. I felt bad for making him wait so long. Ike’s response is something that I will never ever forget:
(Warning: if you have an aversion to slightly cheesy, uber romantic dating moments, avert your eyes now!)
“Sharon, when I think of you I realize how Jacob felt when he worked for 7 years to marry Rachel, but it only felt like a day. That’s how I feel about you. I’ll wait as long as you need.”
At that moment I’m fairly certain that I swooned. I had never heard anything so beautiful in my life, and it’s one of the reasons that I am engaged to him now.
But it also gave me a great perspective on dating. Many of my past dating relationships have been characterized by a sense of hurried urgency. We couldn’t stand to be away from one another, everything moved super fast, and the physical stuff was well on its way before the relationship was even official. There was very little waiting.
When it comes to romance, we hate to wait.
But when you meet the right guy, he’s going to have a vested interest in doing things right. He recognizes the precious treasure of winning your heart, so he’s willing to work for it. Just look at Jacob–he was hardly the poster child for honesty and integrity! He was not the kind of guy you’d bring home to dad. On the contrary, he was a scheming cheater and a liar.
But as soon as he laid eyes on Rachel, that boy snapped right into shape. He suddenly developed a work ethic. He honored the wishes of his father-in-law more than he’d honored his own father. He wanted to do everything just right because he wanted Rachel to be his wife, and that’s what she deserved.
That is the kind of behavior that godly women must wait for. Don’t date a guy with the secret hopes that he’s going to change–if he isn’t changing now then he won’t change when you’re married. And when it comes to the physical stuff, don’t put up with a guy who wants to sleep with you now because he can’t wait until marriage, or he simply doesn’t have any self-control. If he’s sleeping with you, then he doesn’t respect you the way God has called him to.
(And by the way, if Jacob could wait 7 years, your bf can certainly wait a few!)
This also goes for sleeping over. Even if you’re not having sex, there’s still a temptation to share a bed since it all seems innocent enough. And I can relate–it’s hard to send Ike packing at night when I know we’ll be getting married soon. Why not ease into the married life now? But Ike would never do that. The reason he waits for me now is the same reason he waited back then: I am worth it. Our relationship is worth it. Our future marriage is worth it. And most importantly, his commitment to Christ is worth it.
So stand for nothing less. Just because a guy isn’t respecting you now doesn’t mean you won’t find someone else who does. Plenty of guys refused to wait for me, but I found one who did. And let me tell you, it was WELL worth the wait!